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Wellington's smallest football club celebrate 50th anniversary with light-hearted jubilee match

Scratch beneath the surface of a rugby-mad community in Wellington and you'll find a footballing family.

Eastbourne Football Club may be Wellington's smallest football club, but this weekend sees it notch up an important milestone - turning fifty.

Original First team player Bill Hobbs says the achievement is a reflection of the club members.

"Eastbourne is a community. And that team, the Eastbourne team pulled it together."

The club was founded in 1968 to save a group of schoolboys from having to travel to Petone or Lower Hutt every week - but it didn't take long for the club to field it's first senior team.

Hobbs remembers the first game well.

"The first first team game we had was in Belroad, Waiwhetū, against University and we had an astounding victory of 19-0."

It may not be quite as one-sided an affair this weekend as the Eastbourne Geriatrics take on the Brooklyn Pacemakers in the jubilee weekend's headline fixture.

It's a chance for some of Eastbourne's longest serving players to get their weekly runout – something Dean Burrows can’t live without.

"I'm like an old dog who never gets sick of chasing a bone."

Despite having almost 50 years’ experience at the club, Burrows felt extra nervous ahead of the anniversary fixture.

"Funnily enough at the start of this game, I felt quite nervous. Because I felt the last thing I wanted to do tonight partying up was talking about the game we lost!"

Eastbourne was founded in 1968 so that a group of schoolboys wouldn't need to travel far to play the game they love. Source: 1 NEWS


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